tv Revolution in Military Technology CSPAN July 10, 2016 11:20am-12:51pm EDT
but that one is the most famous image. >> the exhibition can be viewed online at the library of congress website. loc.gov. next, military historian paul springer talks about the use of cutting-edge technology in the united states military. robotic weaponry and warfare such as drones and artificial intelligence have revolutionized military affairs, making previous tactics obsolete. the new york historical society hosted this 90-minute event. >> it is a pleasure to introduce my colleague and friend paul springer, who is a senior fellow and has a day job at the military into staff college in alabama and also taught at west
point. he is the author of many books in and many coming out on cyber war, military robotics, history of prisoners of war and a load of other topics. he has been on cnn, npr, fox, the history channel, the national geographic channel. he is really one of our most popular lecturers. we have asked him to speak on revolutions and military affairs, which will give you a quick survey of military history from the 13th century up until today. all in one hour, so i'm sure you will enjoy it. please welcome paul springer. [applause] mr. springer: good morning. i would like to extend a thank you. wonderful organizations i support and love working with.
it is a great opportunity to speak with you today. we'll see if i can review terrified for the weekend with -- leave you terrified for the rest of the weekend with some military robotics information. i am an historian, by definition that means i have to backup way to far to tell you the beginning of the story. before i get rolling, do not worry about reading the small disclaimer at the bottom. these are my views, not the views of the air force or the department of defense or the u.s. government. they are solely mine unless you really like them. all right, so this is the only slide up i will throw at you with an enormous amount of text. i don't expect to read and and i'm not going to read it to you but my point of this like your, my fundamental argument, is that the world right now is in the middle of a revolution in military affairs. the mode of human conflict is altering and that alteration is
going to change virtually every aspect of the way the human conflicts propagate. it will change how we decide whether or not we decide to go to war. it will change how we behave in more. this is due to technological changes that are on the verge of upsetting human society. in the end, there will be some countries that adopt these changes. they take the new technology and learn how to utilize it in to some that do not. these will be the haves and have-nots of the future in conflict. there is any moment's advantage in being one of the first adopters. if you have a revolutionary change in conflict, it becomes possible to dominate your rivals in a short time. the originator of the term "revolutionary nuclear affairs" is soviet and it gives me pain to give credit to a soviet. but there are times when
fundamental changes occur and they occur so rapidly they make everything that has gone before completely obsolete. it is my contention that is occurring right now. let me give you an example that people are probably more familiar with. if you go back to the middle ages, this is what characterized were. tassels, modes, heavily armored -- war. tassels, modes, heavily armored knights. if you wanted to capture something belonging to an opponent, that would likely take human months of siege. unless you were lucky enough to find them at the gates open, the walls unmanned, the moat drained, and no preparations at made. appear we have three successful sieges in the 14th and 15th centuries. these were major undertakings which required a lot of time.
this characterized war in that time. however, when gunpowder became the norm in europe, the situation changed. it suddenly became possible to battered down the defenses of a high walled castle from a safe distance and the attacker had the advantage because the capital and its defenders could not leave its position while the attacker had more mobility and to choose where and when to fight. suddenly, being inside the castle was a disadvantage because you became an obvious target. as a result, here are some successful sieges. and the siege duration is suddenly measured in days.
it was possible to redesign fortifications, to make them less vulnerable to gunfire and thus it became possible to defend a static position. this is what one of those fortifications looked like in the 1600s. as you can see, it is a.m. in enormous fortification full of geometric designs. the idea behind this fort was that it could not be approached on any side without the attackers coming under heavy fire from multiple anger -- angles from the defenders. the result was really long
sieges. and these were the sieges that really succeeded. it became a major undertaking. and it shifted back to a static approach. as you might imagine, those who had not changed the new situation of found themselves quickly overwhelmed. it became a impossible for an army that did not use gunpowder to withstand one that wielded firearms. if siegecraft became an entirely impossible, you had to have some fights outside the castle. sometimes armies were going to meet in the fields. in the 16th century, reloading a firearm could take two minutes. the effective range of a firearm at was only about 50 meters. i am not exactly, it we could say, a paragon of physical fitness but even i could cross 50 meters in the under two minutes.
i could crawl 50 meters in under two minutes. which means if you are using firearms and to shoot and miss, there is a reasonable chance i could run across the field and hit it was something sharp or heavy. as a result, we get mixed formation. this comprises musketeers on the outside and pikemen on the center. the musketeers open fire. after they shoot, the pikemen come to the front while they reload. this made it impossible for musketeers to overcome calvary men in minutes. it swept everything before it on me battlefield because it was better. better than anything through
that time using firearms in the field. it teaches us something. it teaches us sometimes it is not the technology that matters, it is being the first one that figures out how to use it effectively. that is what is going on here. the spanish end up using it to become the dominant land power in europe. but nothing lasts forever. this is one of the rare times you will hear a historian talk to about swedish military dominance. it is not particularly what they are known for but it was the swedes who figured out how to counter the terse year. it was unwieldy because it was getting in the way. it was hard to move around. you could have thousands of troops screaming to be heard. and maybe, the pikes that protect musketeers could for tech them without standing amongst them. the idea was called the brigade.
and when the brigade swept onto the battlefield under gustavus adolphus, it it drove them from the field. they entered the 30-year war knowing it was one of enormous carnage but he had this new idea that for a brief time the swedes could turn the tide of a war that had effectively engulf the entire european continent. this thing was a bloody mess. as much as the 25 -- as much as 25% of the european population died, a much higher percentage than died in world war ii. this tells us these new forms of weaponry, even though they seem archaic today, could be extremely effective when used en masse. if we flashforward a few centuries, we reach world war i. once again, gunpowder is the dominant weapon of the time. each individual wielding a machine gun can fire 600 rounds are and they can sustain that rate of fire as long as they have bullets and they can fire relatively accurately for a
distance up to two miles. i cannot cross two miles in under two minutes. there is no way i'm going to be able to do it with a couple thousand bullets flying at me. this caused warfare to once again become very static, very position-oriented. for all intents and purposes, to stagnate. but progress continued. world war i at the time was the bloodiest war in history. millions of people died. there was a significant movement around the world to say, we
never going to do that again. at one point, leading nations attempted to ban the practice of warfare which did not last very long. technically, the united states has never repealed the act where we swear we would never use warfare against an opponent. there were other attempts to mitigate the aspect of warfare. a lot came out as the result of the gunpowder revolution. you had prominent thinkers in the 17th and 18th centuries to said, there are limits to what you can do in warfare. there are things that are not acceptable behavior. for example, you should not go out and poisoning your bullets before firing them at someone. you should not deliberately kill someone after you have captured them. you should not deliberately spread the disease amongst your enemies. yes, they are your enemies but when wars and, you have to go
back to at least being able to coexist. unless your objective is the complete and utter annihilation of your opponent. which is flat wrong. you should not do that. annihilation is bad. even though we are innovating these new net -- these new technological ideas and concepts, we are also saying there's something to just do not do. you do not invent weapons that are designed to maim. you accept the enemies surrender of they offer it in good faith. over time, it becomes the norm in european warfare that there are specific limits. these thinkers also considered, when is it respectable to go to war. they come to the conclusion there are times when war is an acceptable policy option. the right to go to war to defend yourself, your citizenry, your
territory. there are other circumstances in which warfare is also in acceptable alternative. as we move forward into the 20's century after world war ii, there was a significant movement once again to never allow a conflict like this to happen. when the united nations charter was written, a key component was that member states of the united nations shall not make war upon each other and if you violate that the expectation is that all of the other member states will come to the aid of the big. as you all know, it has not always worked out that way. but there is an enormous body of international law governing what you can and cannot do in war. most is encapsulated in the geneva convention. there are four key components
that will matter later in the lecture as to what are the ultimate limits of warfare in terms of who can and cannot anticipate. the geneva convention can make this clear. you must bear arms openly. you're not allowed to make war by hiding your weaponry, pulling it out, attacking the enemy, hiding it again. you must wear some form of uniform or recognizable device. it may be the uniform of a country with a flag on it. it may be something as simple as a green headscarf, to hamas. and hesse b recognize more and distinct so i know you are representing yourself as a combatant. and you are expecting me to follow the rules of war. you must be part of an organization of a hierarchical structure where the leadership is responsible for the behavior of these subordinates. there has to be a form of command and control. someone that is ultimately held responsible for the behavior of troops in the field. and, you must follow the laws of war. if you do not follow the laws of war you cannot claim their protection in any form of combat. why does this matter?
the united states is currently in a fight with the islamic state. with al qaeda. we are fighting terrorism into the concept. and the organization with which we are in conflict do not bear arms openly. do not wear a recognizable uniform. do not have a command structure where the leadership is responsible for the behavior of subordinates and they certainly do not although the laws of war. so there are outside of our traditional understanding of who is a -- an acceptable combatant and who is protected by the laws of war and if the united states and its allies choose to extend additional privileges such as accepting surrender and restraining ourselves, that is our option. but we really effectively have to follow the rules of war even though we are facing an enemy who does not. and that can be an incredibly frustrating situation as this cartoon illustrates.
we have to follow the laws of war for one fundamental reason. if we do not follow the laws of war, then the laws of war themselves become largely irrelevant and the enemy we are currently facing has its primary goal being the destruction of the existing world order. you can conceive of the islamic state and al qaeda as a global insurgency. its goal is not necessarily just to bring down individual governments, it's goal is to destroy the entire international system. it is trying to hold down the system we have with the united nations where there are nations that are considered haves and have-nots. they have the ultimate tool, a veto over the use of violence. the united states, britain, france, and china.
none of them are in the middle eastern region. so imagine if you will, if we were to redesign the permanent security council, choose new membership. would you put the same five countries in there? not on the basis of economics. not on the basis of population size and probably not on the basis of geography. nell imagine if the islamic -- now imagine if the islamic state achieves everything and pushing for. it creates a caliphate that stretches from north africa all the way to the pacific ocean. would they have cause to claim membership in this most elite of fraternities? or4y m -=-- -- they might, they might instead choose to
it creates a caliphate that stretches from north africa all pull down the system because they believe chaos and anarchy will more effectively serve their and goal. that is our starting point. when it comes to 21st century conflict and military robotics, the heart of what i want to discuss today i need to establish definitions. the media is a big fan of the term "drone." and drone has a specific meaning. it is a preprogrammed machine. it does whatever it is told to do. it does not think. it does not react. it does not choose from a host of options. it simply does what it is told. you preprogram a route, it flies the route. you tell it to strike a certain point, it strikes a certain point. it is not a thinking machine. a drone by definition is not and drone has a specific meaning. it is a preprogrammed machine. it does whatever it is told to do. it does not think. it does not react. it does not choose from a host of options. it simply does what it is told. being driven by some other intelligence. you fire it, it flies off. you do not control it on its
route. you might have the ability to stop it, to abort its mission, but there's no intelligence hiding its actions. it has already been done. a robotic system incorporates some degree of its ability to sense an environment and make decisions. you were probably familiar with a predatory. a predatory is being flown by a human operator but it has some functions it performs automatically. which makes flying it a lot easier. it does not choose to kill. a human being chooses to fire a missile from a predatory. it does not choose where it will fly, a human being chooses where it will fly. but it does some things on its own. some of these other devices, this has become most well-known
as an explosive ordinance removal disposal robot. it allows you to avoid putting humans and the worst of harm's way. it does not disarm bombs on its own. it gets close to the bomb and does what it's operator tells it to do. incredibly useful to reduce as you'll tease. -- reduce your casualties, because at the end of the day, nobody cries every robot dies, does not die. it just gets rendered into small pieces. on the right, more terrifying. this is the larger, uglier cousin. it weighs about 200 pounds. it is remotely driven. it is not driving itself around and shooting off guns and causing chaos. there is in a operator driving it from a distance using a camera. as you can see, it can be armed. you can put rocket launchers, grenade launchers, machine guns on it. it does not suffer from a lot of the problems that trigger in accuracy in humans when using weaponry. it does not have a pulse. it does not breathe. it instantly calculate -- it
instantly calculates the wind. it does not feel bad if it is shooting at a house of children. it just does what it is told. there is a human operator telling it to do that, but there is a certain divorce there. the human is a little further away from the intimacy of killing. a robot, for all intents and purposes, robots do not exist yet, not in the way the military means when it uses the term "robot." it makes decisions on what it is going to do on the environment and senses and right now there are no weapons that are true robots in the classical sense, wandering around causing headache for everyone. they do not exist yet that they are on the immediate horizon. i am going to show you some examples of how close we are getting and what we could do if we chose to. final definition, a cyborg. a cybernetic organism. that is, a human or any kind of critical but usually a human that has incorporated robotic elements into themselves,
usually as a form of an enhancement. rush limbaugh is a cyborg. he has an implant in his ear that has restored hearing to him, without which he is completely deaf, which as i understand it is a problem for radio hosts. there are other cyborg's out there. you may be surprised some of the things we can do now with mind-controlled implants. artificial intelligence. the notion you could create a machine that would be capable of processing information in the same fashion as a human.
to a certain extent, artificial intelligence is a red herring. there is not a compelling reason to create something that is artificially intelligent. robots give us the advantage we can choose specialization. we can design them. there is not a particularly compelling reason to produce a humanoid robots with all the frailties and weaknesses of human beings. if i was designing the next human being, this is not the shape i would choose. i am a very picky guy, apparently. alan turing was a british cryptanalyst during world war ii. he posited the idea of the touring test. -- turing test. if you can query a computer into human being through some mechanism where the sound would not tell you which was which. maybe you're using a keyboard to ask a question. you could determine whether or not you had created artificial intelligence by having a question asked and as they could
not determine which was which, you would have created artificial intelligence. microsoft a few weeks ago thought they would run an experiment. they created an artificial intelligence. they created a twitter account and turned it over to a computer and hypothetically, they programmed this computer to act the way that microsoft takes a 15-year-old girl would act on a twitter account. within 24 hours, this thing was tweeting racist responses. it had been trained by the internet and all of the horrific things the internet could bring to life. microsoft quickly shut it down. no 15-year-old girl is quite that racist.
and -- at about a week later, tweeting racist responses. it had been trained by the internet and all of the horrific things the internet could bring they brought it back and it only took a few hours before it was announcing that hitler was right. there have been other companies. maybe you are familiar with a machine called watson. it was designed to play jeopardy against human opponents. laying jeopardy requires a lot more than an enormous knowledge of trivia because most questions are written in a way that requires abstract reasoning. it requires you to think through in a way that previews to now, only humans could do. watson won the game against the best jeopardy champion that ever played. this came as a major shock.
now, we had a machine that appeared to be capable of very quickly reasoning through very challenging questions. but, what do you do with a machine like that? what is the practical use of something like watson? it turns out the thing is phenomenally helpful in the medical field. watson has been built by ibm in turned over to some major medical centers and what we're finding is that this machine can read virtually every medical research item that has ever been produced in every language. as a result, it is able to make conclusions that would never occur to a human doctor. so, you're left big toe itches and you taste in a burn the riverview mouth, you have liver cancer. that is a made-up example. but watson takes the strange symptoms, what some together, and then spits out what it thinks is the answer. it is looking and very obscure medical journals for the individual strange cases they get written up by doctors. that often resulted in the death of a patient. they didn't knocked out see, -- they did an autopsy, it's a
big toe, peanut butter roof of the mouth, clearly that was liver cancer. watson is doing that in a record amount of time and that offers an opportunity to revolutionize medicine. that could be wonderful. we will see dark sides as well. when it comes to military robotics and artificial intelligence, there are some things that machines do infinitely better the end humans do. feel free to run a race with just a basic calculator and see if you are faster than it is in arithmetic. you cannot. it is hyper specialize. it is a far harder process to do things like immediate calculations of ballistic tables and determinations of whether or not to engage what might be a threat. and, that is what this -- these devices is at the bottom. you might be familiar with the patriot system. it is an air defense system. you might not know it has a fully autonomous mode. he flipped the switch and it will fire on anything that comes
into its engagement some that it perceives as a threat so hopefully you have predefined what it should consider a threat. unfortunately, on a number of occasions, patriot missile batteries have opened up on those fighting on the same side of the united states and on at least two occasions it has fired on american aircraft despite the fact american aircraft were using a code that should've told it, do not shoot at me i am an american. so the system does not always work perfectly. when it comes to air defense, sometimes you have to accept the loss ability failure because it is too dangerous not to turn on the system. in the center, this is called a closed-end weapon system. it is a radar-guided very powerful machine gun. it is used as the last line of defense on american naval vessels and has been used as such for more than 30 years. as someone shoots a missile, this thing is the last chance to shoot that missile down before it hits our ship and potentially
sinks and ended might kill thousands of lives. you are willing to use it in the fully autonomous mode because it is your last chance to save a lot of lives and you are using it over into oceans of the possibility of collateral damage is relatively low. in this regard, autonomy is your best chance to actually save the sailors and so it is absolutely acceptable to use it in this mode. it is not as acceptable to use a thomas weapons and other circumstances were collateral damage is infinitely more likely. you are probably not willing to use this in the middle of new york city because you can only imagine what happens to every round and that does not hit deep missile and this can fire 6000 rounds a minute.
that is an awful lot of projectiles flying through the air. when it comes to computerized warfare, we have seen fundamental innovations and changes. israel does not always get along well with its neighbors. israel does not like the idea of any of its neighbors obtaining nuclear weapons. in 1981, the israelis got word the iraqis had built a nuclear reactor and were in the process of and reaching uranium -- and reaching uranium. enriching uranium. israelis were not willing to accept that. they destroyed the reactor and for all intents and purposes, it ended the iraqi air program. it showed that israel would put an end to it anytime the iraqis were building a nuclear program. it iraqi found out the syrians were building a program using pakistani expertise to get it enriching uranium.
they did not want to tolerate a nuclear program with a hostile neighbor but these syrians had also purchased a first-rate air defense is system and the israelis were not confident there missiles could penetrate, attack, and retreat without paying enormous cost. so the israelis inserted a commando theme. when -- in the ground, they've managed to dig up a portion of the fiber optic network that controlled the or defense network and uploaded a virus. that virus caused the radars to be convinced there was nothing to see. that it was just a nice, placid night. the first hint these syrians had they were under attack was the missile hitting the program and wiping it out. this is what it enabled the syrians -- the israelis to do.
fast forward a few years. you may have heard of a virus that required at two minimum the resources of a nation in order to potentially create it. it used an incredibly sophisticated system in order to effectively seek out a very specific type of machine and that machine powers centrifuges. centrifuges that are used to separate uranium. somebody, and nobody has taken credit for it yet, but the leading candidates are the united states and israel. i am not revealing classified information, i have no clue was them. but they are the most likely because it was an iranian nuclear facility that had it. some he wandered around the parking lot of the facility and dropped a couple of thumb drives. flash drives. and somebody else came one and went, flash drives.
i bet somebody will want the back. they picked it up and walked inside and plugged it into a computer to try to figure out who belong to to give it back. the moment they did that, they uploaded stucknet which then search for the centrifuges and made a tiny change and that tiny change caused the centrifuges to spin up and spend down. spin up and spin down. it cause just enough action to cause the centrifuges to fail. they did not know they were the victim of a cyber attack. they thought maybe they worry in compton at building centrifuges. they thought maybe they did not have the know-how to create a nuclear program. it eroded their confidence and we can there believe in what they were doing. it was not until a couple years later when an antivirus firm located and pointed out the existence of the virus that we knew what caused it to fail. without committing a single act of war, somebody shut down the
iranian nuclear program for about three years. at about the same time, somebody, and it may have been the same somebody, i do not know, started ss and 80 iranian nuclear scientist. that was more overt. computer viruses was one thing, shooting people is more obvious. i do not know who was responsible, i just know there are an awful lot of people not excited about the idea of in iranian nuclear program. and here we have this possibility of enabling it to be shut down without doing the classic attack that would characterize it as an act of war. when it comes to military robotics, this is a longer thing than most people realize. military robotics are not new.
you can go back on most 100 years to have a very rudimentary system. a flying torpedo. basically, an airplane packed full of explosives designed to have its engines shut off after a certain time of flight that will cause it to just dive on whatever is beneath it. this was innovated by charles kettering, it was not ready for world war i. it did not work well and it was not dependable said this was probably good. it was just as likely to come world war i. down on your own forces as it was on the enemy. on the verge of world war ii, the soviets came up with a review -- remotely driven tank. everything about it was normal but it had no humans inside of
it. the humans that controlled it it was rather clunky. the vast majority of their tanks they had to destroy themselves when the finnish people they were fighting against realized they could climb up on top, go down inside, pull out the radio control and say, "hey, i've got a tank! a brand-new tank just for me!" the soviets destroyed their own stuff. the germans created the goliath. this is a 200-pound wire driven miniature vehicle designed to be driven underneath military enemy tanks and detonated. think of it like a landmine that moves around. its big vulnerability -- it is wire-guided. you cut the wire, it does not move it anymore. the vast majority of their goliaths wound up being stockpiled and never used. and finally the v-1 flying bomb. the buzz bomb. these things proved to be fairly effective.
much like the kettering bug, you have an airplane engine, in this case agent, attached to a bomb. you can target a city the size of london and have a reasonable chance of hitting it. you cannot target a specific address and have any chance, other than dumb luck, of hitting it. but a city the size of london, with millions of inhabitants, can face a bombardment from which they initially have no real response. when the british tried to shoot them down, they discovered they were harder to shoot down. they found out the easiest way to fly upown a v-1 is next to it, put your wingtip under its wing tip, and tip it over. that will cause it to crash. not the safest of activities. not the best idea for how to spend a sunday afternoon. moving forward, into at least my lifetime, the pioneer. this thing was usually used for
artillery spotting in the 1980's. in particular, the navy like to use it because they fire projectiles 20 or more miles. they could fly it over head, look down, and tell how to adjust fire. pretty effective, pretty easy to use. this is a target drone from the vietnam air. somebody came up with a brilliant idea you can put a television camera on it, fly it over hostile space, and now no longer have to use human pilots on reconnaissance missions. then we started flying these things over china. since china was intervening in the vietnam war, we wanted to see what they were up to and get advanced warning. the chinese started shooting them down. and as they shoot them down, they run out to the wreckage and they cannot figure out why they could never capture a pilot. apparently, american pilots were really good at heigh hide and seek. but there is no pilot. apparently a lot of these things on display in
chinese military museums that they point out as an american fighter pilot they shot down. this is a british researcher, in my opinion, and incredibly creepy guy. very smart. he had an idea, "i will get a microchip implanted in my wrist and use the microchip to measure the electrical impulses of the human nervous system to figure out at what frequency and what how the human body controls itself." after a long medical study, they decided they would let him do it to himself. ithe had eight -- he had surgically implanted. he figured out which nerves in his wrist controlled which nerves in his hand. he then maps it to an artificial hand, which he is then able to control with his mind. he closes his hand into a fist, it closes. he opens, it opens. revolutionary. pioneering. a mind-controlled prosthetic. 16 years ago. that is not creepy, that is neat.
creepy is when kevin's wife has a similar microchip implanted into her wrist, and they are now able to control each other's hands. able to control each other's hands with their own mind. that was almost two decades ago. you can imagine where this is going. getting close to the modern era. the reaper is a much larger -- actually, it is almost the same size as the predator -- but much more powerful than the predator. it can carry up to 14 missiles instead of just two. a cybernetic has hand he can control with his mind. it has since been implemented onto his arm. he is capable of picking up an egg with one hand, not the human hand, and cracking it. i cannot do that. i have two perfectly good hands, make a mess every time i try. but this guy has such good motor control, and this has a force feedback system, which means he
can close his eyes and tell you when he is touching something and how it feels like, just how it goes back to his mind. the israelis built iron dome, a much more sophisticated missile system capable of tracking inbound missiles and choosing whether or not to shoot them down. it is not just engage everything that flies overhead. instead it calculates where that , thing is going to come down. is it a populated area? in which case i should intercept. or is it an unpopulated area, in which case i should let it fly off into the middle of nowhere and let it strike where it will be perfectly safe. this has massively reduced the number of casualties israelis are facing from rockets out of gaza and the northern regions from southern lebanon. big dog. this is from boston dynamics. the company has essentially built a robotic mule. it can carry 300 pounds of gear. it can move at the same speed as
a human on foot. it can move up 30 degrees which i assure you is a high slope. it can walk on ice. it can be programmed to follow an individual human being wherever they go. the idea is american troops that are moving through urban areas tend to be loaded down with up to 100 pounds of gear. they would be incredibly useful if they could offload that to some kind of machine they could assume what keep up with them. that is the idea. and finally, the atlas robot. the atlas robot is designed to be able to go into dangerous locations. the first time we actually saw this in operation, it was sent nuclear fukushima reactor in japan to see whether there was a reactor leak under way. it destroyed the robot. a much better alternative than destroying a human. the radiation levels were so high, it would've killed anybody
who went in to see what was going on. this machine is designed to go where humans go. it is one of the rare cases where you actually want the machine to have roughly the same form in mind because it , could move in the same vehicles. the d.c. ram is the land version of a closed weapon system. we put this into bases in iraq that were being shelled. it is capable of locating and engaging projectiles as small as 60 millimeters. it can head very small targets. the dod, we like to think of ourselves as environmentally friendly. we make biodegradable projectiles for it. when these projectiles come down, they are designed to do no collateral damage and not harm the environment. so no more depleted uranium being thrown around. it is nice, isn't it? it is because we care. ok. so where are we going? this man here is quadriplegic, but he is wearing a mind-controlled exoskeleton that allows him to walk and move.
it is a fairly slow system right now. he is not moving at human speed. but it is a heck of a lot better than the alternative. this individual is wearing a leg that is controlled by his mind. it allows him to move at regular walking speed. in both of those cases, the research was highly advanced thanks to all of the casualties we were taking from improvised explosive devices in your back -- in iraq. there are an awful lot of american service personnel who have lost a limb, and the dod has put a big effort into advanced research to give them a better way of life. here are some variants. the dresser we are going with those things is full autonomy -- the direction we are going with those things is full autonomy. rather than having a human being driving them, you would have them moving along the side or in place of your human troops. that starts to make me nervous.
because you can program those things to engage human targets without human intervention. nobody in the loop saying, "yes. shoot." or "no, do not shoot." you can equip them with an audio detection system that picks up the sound of gunfire and automatically pivots to return fire. so if you have a problem with snipers in an urban area you can deploy these, and if the sniper takes a shot, you have the ability to immediately shoot on the sniper position. on the one hand, this is a good thing. it will reduce coalition casualty. but on the other hand, it will not take long before the opponents start to chain children in front of sniper positions, and this is the way they will intentionally take advantage of our ethics, our morality, and our superior technology. a few years ago, hitachi came out with a facial recognition system. that camera can compare up to 30 million faces in a minute and do so at a high angle profile.
about 20 years ago, the u.s. air force came up with the locaas system. this was designed to essentially fly over a battlefield, look for targets, and fire without human intervention. i want you to take a moment to imagine what happens if you pair the hitachi facial recognition system with the locaas fully autonomous loitering vehicle. it will reduce over a city four hours, looking for the individuals whose pictures you uploaded and then it starts firing missiles at them. when it runs out of missiles, it fires itself in a final projectile as a kamikaze system. these are the things are starting to keep me up at night. where are we going? swarms. swarms are all the rage. you can have very complicated or -- of very simple devices behavior out of very simple devices.
darpa came out with centibots. very small ground robots with very simple programming. they can move around and look around. stay away from other robots. report back what they see. simple programming. they are capable of mapping a city the size of new york. every building, every street, with just 100 robots in the matter of two weeks. and there is not a human being driving them. all they are doing is wandering and mapping as they go. this is assuming they are not being run over by cabbies or kicked by angry new yorkers. but the principle -- if it was an empty city, they could map it quickly. the aero-virun switchblade is a fire and forget weapon. this is where we are going in terms of shooting and not thinking about it anymore. one of the problems is, who was responsible if this thing makes a strike on a target that we
would consider to be illegal, who do you blame? you cannot punish a robot, or at least not in any way that it would consider a punishment, for violating the laws of war. you cannot force a robot to feel bad about what it has done. in theory, you could punish the commander who released the weapon. you could punish whoever made the decision to ship it to the theater. you could punish whoever wrote software for it. but the history of military prosecution would indicate that is not going to happen. even the perpetrator of the my lai massacre, who was responsible for the death of about civilians, his punishment 400 was four months of house arrest. so what are the chances we will if onemeone responsible of our machines still functioned? what are the chances we will write it off as a malfunction as , an unfortunate situation? i am a pessimist, so i think it is the latter.
i have a final case study for you. this will come from the news. you are probably familiar. anwar al-alaqui. not a pleasant individual. he was born in the united states, and american citizens becomes radicalized. moves to yemen and becomes the al qaeda inader of yemen. he is doing his best to inspire attacks against the west. he is being fairly successful. some of his known associates are the fort hood shooter. the underwear bomber. the man who tried to set off a bomb in times square. he was also associated with at least three of the 9/11 attackers. and a 15-year-old boy who tried to detonate a car bomb at a christmas tree lighting ceremony
in portland, oregon. he was a busy guy. he spent a lot of time recruiting individuals for what he saw as the quintessential fight against the west. against the united states. his last few years of life are spent in hiding. he's on the run. he's living in yemen. and he knows he has been placed on the united states' designated targeted kill list. effectively the list, maintained by the treasury department, that is the kill or capture but heavy emphasis on kill list. as a u.s. citizen, he thinks he ought to have constitutional protection. that he has effectively been judged and sentenced to execution without a criminal trial. his father sues in a federal court to get him taken off the
list on the grounds that he is an american citizen and that he has not done anything technically against the law. it is a gray area whether or not what he did technically violated u.s. law. something a court could probably decide. however, the case gets thrown out, because his father does not have the legal standing to bring that case in a court of law in the united states. according to the courts, only anwar himself can file the lawsuit to get him off the list, and of course, to file the lawsuit he would have to come back to the united states to file said lawsuit. which he it -- which he is not willing to do. he is convinced if he ever tries to come back, he will never see the light of day again. so he has made his peace, he is living on the run. on a number of occasions, he is almost killed by american remotely-piloted aircraft. in one case, on may 5 of 2011,
a predator fired on a vehicle that we thought was carrying him, but it turned out he had swapped vehicles with al qaeda operatives. but on october 14, 2011, he and another american were killed by a predator firing a hellfire missile. and to a certain extent, i am ok with that. i am not sad he is not part of this earth anymore. however, the president for it makes me a little nervous. in theory, least article three of the u.s. constitution defines treason. was he guilty of treason? i would say he was. was he given a trial to prove that? no, he was not. in fact, the executive branch made the decision they would execute him at the first opportunity, regardless of his citizenship status. it would have been harder to get
permission to place a wiretap on his cell phone than it was to put him on the kill list. because the wiretap would have required oversight. in his case, being put on the list is not. moving further into the constitution, the fifth amendment tells us "you cannot be held to answer for a capital crime without an indictment of a grand jury and without having the opportunity for a trial." sayshe sixth amendment that trial needs to be speedy, public. you're allowed to confront the witnesses against you, and you have the right to counsel. none of these things were true in the case of anwar. i understand. in wartime, there is a gray area. and killing him probably saved american lives. but there is a kicker to the story. and that is his teenage son. abdul had not seen his father in more than five years.
he is living in yemen with his grandparents, and he hears a rumor of where his father might be. and so, being a teenager, 16-years-old, he is impulsive. he decides he is going to run away from home, hop on a bus, and go to this town where he has heard his father is living and find his dad. what he does not know is that his father had been killed two weeks before. and he was not even in the town this kid thought his father was in. so, he heads off. his grandparents runs off, and he is currently left them a note saying he has gone to find his i am going, is my am really sorry but i have to do this. they called ahead to the town the kid is headed to where they have some relatives and say, look, he is looking for his father, could you pick him up at the bus station, hold onto them for a few days, and we will come pick him up. in a few days.
we have to get off work, etc. so he spends a few days meeting cousins, wandering around the town. and on the last day before he is supposed to board a bus and go back home to his grandparents he , is sitting in a coffee shop with six other teenagers when a hellfire missile strikes and kills them all. it strikes with such force and power that the family is not able to distinguish the remains, and they wind up having to bury all seven of them in a common grave. as you might imagine, the family protests this action and asks, why did you kill our children? the federal response was, this man was a 21-year-old al qaeda operative, who was actively planning operations against the united states. to which the family said, no. he was not. he was a teenager. 16-years-old. born in denver. an al qaeda operative. look at his facebook profile. the kid is showing pictures of all of his life.
this kid is not, in any way, shape, or form, radicalized. you killed him because of who has father was. the government came back and said, well, actually we did not kill him. we killed the guy next to him, and he just happened to be sitting next to the wrong person. because we were actually aiming at a bomb maker from egypt sitting next to him. so you know if you sit next to , bad people, sometimes bad things happen. the problem is the cia had that bomb maker under surveillance at the same time, and he was in egypt, not yemen. the government has not commented since, on this particular case. and i do not think they will. because there is not anything good you can say about this particular incident. but, it is indicative of a lot of our decision-making in the 21st century. military robotics have made us feel like we can wage war with impunity. that we can fight a war without facing the possibility of taking
casualties on our own. it has eroded the normal standards for when we use conflict versus other mechanisms of coercion. military robotics makes us more likely to go to war. but they do not mean we can fight wars with impunity. and the reason why is the enemy does not simply sit there and take the punishment raining down from robots in the sky. they cannot shoot down the robots, and if they could, it would not be very satisfying. instead, they look at other targets they can reach. but those targets don't tend to be uniformed personnel, who have adopted the risk, accepted it as part of service. rather, the organizations being tendted with these devices to aim for civilians, whether it be embassy personnel or tourists who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. they strike back by placing bombs on civilian airliners. by leaving car bombs in crowded areas. they do not just absorb the
punishment, and they are not going to follow the rules. so my argument is not that we should give up military robotics. that we should stop this. that is not going to happen. technological progress will continue. but we do need to think about where it is we're trying to go and what it is we're trying to produce. lest we choose the worst possible scenario. thank you for your kind attention. [applause] and i believe, if you would like to ask a question, there are microphones on the side, so they can record you and remember exactly who you are forever. how much is the robotics war, cyber war, been responsible for the destruction of isis and al qaeda? both of those terrorist groups have certainly retreated a great deal. mr. springer: it is a tough call
between whether they have retreated or missed us a sized and spread. al qaeda has a lot more branches now than it did in 2001. that may be because its sanctuaries had been destroyed. it is difficult for it to group in large groups anywhere. but those organizations have also received the allegiance of a lot of very terrifying groups. most people do not realize the deadliest terror organization of the last 10 years is actually boko haram, based in nigeria. it has sworn its allegiance to the islamic state. al-shabaab, of somali, has sworn its allegiance to al qaeda and is now being swayed toward the islamic state. so this is a judgment call whether this has really eroded their abilities, hindered their opportunity to engage in operations or not. a lot of what we are doing now is the islamic state manned aircraft, because we are
launching so many of them and they can carry so many munitions. i would argue that while geographically, it the islamic state has been pushed back, in terms of the casualties they are inflicting, they are still an incredibly dangerous organization. so i'm not sure this is eroding their power at all. >> do you think the russians were in violation of the rules of war in ukraine, with the troops they sent in and basically were in russian uniforms? mr. springer: yes. the so-called russian volunteers, these patriotic russians? i would call it was a violation of war. that russia was openly engaged in an invasion of sovereign ukrainian territory. that is something the russians have done recently. so take, for example the case of , georgia in 2008. the russians effectively said there is an ethnic majority of russians in the south area, and we have a responsibility to protect them from the evil overlord georgian government.
in the ukraine, it was the same argument. these people speak russian, are russian and the ukrainian , government is mistreating them , so therefore we have the legal right to invade. according to the u.n. charter, they do not have the right to invade. but they do have a veto. which means if the u.n. wanted to pass some kind of a security council resolution to condemn or send forces, the russians could veto it. they have the legal right, and they are not required to explain their veto and there is no mechanism to override the veto. so is it legal for you to infiltrate forces out of uniform in sovereign territory to engage in warfare? no, it is not. does it mean the international community will do anything about it? i doubt it. that closentervene to russia, that far from our supply bases while we are engaged in so many other complex is a really difficult proposition.
and without american leadership, the rest of the world is not going to do it. >> i was wondering when artificial intelligence is integratedgh and with robots and they are sent to war, what do you think is a realistic contingency plan, as a kill button to kill them? so when enemies kill them? >> know, when they go out of control and try to kill you. mr. springer: i don't know. hide in a basement. surrender. in theory, you can program robots to have a kill switch to shut down. in theory, you could use something like an electromagnetic pulse, maybe to fry their electronics. but you can shield against those, too. if you design killer robots and make them powerful enough to engage in war, shutting them down, if you made a programming
error, could be a bloody proposition. the last thing i want to see is a fight between humans and robots. that means even if it is our robots and humans we do not like, that is a bad idea. here's a tidbit, the united states army right now is kept at 480,000 humans. there is no limit to how many robots you cannot. you can build one million, 2 million robots and send them into combat. a lot of americans would say, as long as no american troops died, deal what happens. we never value someone else's life as much as we do our own. so the allure of "i can fight a war and not lose any of my own citizenry" could prove irresistible to some people unless you educate them on the ramifications of it. answer onave a good how to stop them other than try to stop people from building them in the first place. >> a lot of what i know about robots in the military comes from the film "eye in the sky."
how much of that was realistic , and how much of the political to cordone ability off an area because there was a single civilian that you do not want to kill, how much of that would be realistic? mr. springer: it has been a long time since i have even come into passing with it, but you can program an entire area to be completely off limits. we have done that plenty of times before. we do that right now. we have areas considered, for lack of better terms, "kill boxes," and areas that are considered completely off limits. whether it is humans or robotics. if you want to cordon off an area, you could. hollywood does not care to be particularly accurate when they are depicting robots, especially robots of war, because exciting, -- because the reality is far more exciting, in some ways.
and far more terrifying in others, depending on how deeply you think about it. i would not depend on hollywood too much to get it right. these are still the people who would have you watch a crime show and say, keep the villain on the line for 30 seconds so we can trace them. a telephone trace takes less than one second. that is why 9-1-1 knows exactly where you are when you call. but it is a hollywood device that works pretty well, so it becomes kind of a hollywood trope. hollywood has depicted so many robots now, that i think a lot of people will think they are not that bad. there will be cute and cuddly. and this new "star wars" movie has the one that rolls around , and he is a lot of fun and not scary. unless you put c-4 -- unless you put c-4 on him, and he becomes a rolling bomb. that might seem far-fetched, except american troops did that with a robot that looked like it was built out of an erector set. aey put a claymore mine on
robot about eight pounds, maybe this big. they put a mine on in and send it forward and said, well, if any of these guys come out of the shadows, we're just going to detonate this rolling land mine. people are capable of some really horrific innovations. in that case, they did not wind up using it but i would not rely , on hollywood to give you the best idea of what is going on. >> we have heard stories of operators in the military or under military control that have a uniform on. we have also heard stories about civilians and cia and intelligence officers who pushed the kill buttons on those drones as well. i do not think that is quite in the laws of war. mr. springer: we have what is called title x, which is the u.s. code that governs all military operations. i am a title x employee. i work with the u.s. air force. title 50 governs the intelligence services.
back in the 1970's, president gerald ford issued what has been referred to as the assassination ban. it effectively said members of intelligence agencies are not allowed to kill people, and in particular, are not allowed to assassinate people. why? well, very publicly we had been caught trying to do it a couple of times. we also tried and failed a bunch of times to kill fidel castro. it is like watching a wile e. coyote cartoon. [laughter] exploding cigars -- seriously, we tried to do that. in one case, we laced his diving suit with lsd, so when he put it on it would kill him. ,a different person put on the suit. so no more assassination, let's not do that. and that was the case until the 1990's, when president clinton created an exception for leaders who were
asterrorist organizations defined by the state department. president clinton said, the ban means you cannot kill foreign heads of state, but it is ok for intelligence officers to target al qaeda or other organizations that we have said are terrorists and so we are going to put you on this list and give you fair warning. when it comes to remotely piloted aircraft, things like predator, things like reapers, the vast majority of strikes by those aircraft, particularly outside of afghanistan and iraq, have not been carried out by uniformed u.s. air force personnel. some have been carried out by cia, a lot have been carried out by contractors working for the cia. what that does is it effectively creates a sort of cut-out. it divorces you further and further away from the rules. it makes it easier -- the intelligence agencies are better at hiding what they are doing, who is responsible for the decision to kill, to strike, etc. it becomes harder to untangle who is responsible if you make it a mistake.
is it against the laws of war -- it is a gray area. you could conceive of those individuals as mercenaries, which have fallen completely out of favor in international law. you could also conceive of them as agents of the united states government, in which case they would theoretically be protected. so i cannot give you a good answer, because i do not think there is a good answer. if it is, it will be devised for someone far smarter than me. >> two things that are stopping the extension of robotics, now, is the budget, as i understand. the predator drone costs billions of dollars, and there are only so many people that can create them. you do not really think that this is going to stop them from becoming a dominant form of warfare. i would like to know why. mr. springer: first of all, the united states has always willing to spend more money than blood. that is our thing.
especially since world war ii. but even in world war 2, 1 of the adages the germans would say is you cannot fight against the americans, because they fight 10 -- they fire 10 times as much artillery as they need. and it is because united states was willing to sacrifice firepower for human power, and this is an extension of that. so you're right. the predator costs a lot of money. but most of the cost is the sensor ball. itself.t the airframe it is the stuff strapped onto it that is expensive. but it turns out an american infantry person is also incredibly expensive. not only did he have to pay them a salary every year, you spend more than a quarter million dollars training them to do their basic job and then another dollarsmillion outfitting them with stuff. and then, should they become any kind of a casualty, you might spend millions of dollars on their medical care. millions of dollars on their medical benefits for veterans. in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, the nice thing about the machines are you can
mass-produce them and you can stockpile them. you can just have them sitting around until you want to engage in a conflict. that is a lot harder to do with human beings. there's also the attraction, if you are a civilian decision-maker, and you said i want you to go do x, there is a possibility a human will say, no. it is unethical, illegal, immoral. robots do not talk back. they just do what they are told. and that can make them very attractive if you want to be a really controlling leader. right now, as you know, thanks to the constitution, the military is subordinate to civilian control, and that can cause frustration. sometimes. sometimes the military feels they are not being listened to. they are the experts, but the civilians want to tell them how to do things. but there have not really been any instances in american history where the military flat out refused to do what was asked of them in terms of military
missions. there have been plenty times on nonmilitary missions where they have effectively said no, that is not our thing, we cannot do that. but robots do not talk back. while there might be an initial large investment, once that is a sunk cost, they cost almost nothing to operate. you have to replace their munitions, give them a battery charge every once in a while, and that is it. what we're saying is these things are becoming more and more attractive. so if you go to the north korean-south korean border, the south koreans have started to build and deploy century robots. one of the attractive sides of this is you do not have to have personnel patrolling. you can have a robot that has more senses in a lot of ways. it can see in the infrared spectrum, uv spectrum, and so on. one of the other attractive aspect is, and this makes me feel good, the century robots do not have to use force. you are willing to risk a robot. you can arm a robot with a taser or teargas, and that might allow you to save lives on both sides.
that is not necessarily what this century robots are armed with. it is a hostile border that has been at war for 60 years. but in terms of why this is happening, i just think cost will stop this. we are $20 trillion in debt. we seem to be comfortable with racking that up. we just passed a $602 billion defense budget. compared to that, we're talking about a few billion dollars being spent on robots right now. so right now, i think they're going to wind up becoming the more cost-effective option. >> what, in your view, would constitute an act of war in cyberspace, and where would the issue of sovereignty come in? mr. springer: that is a good question. i am going to stall. [laughter] mr. springer: stall some more. time is up -- have a great one. no. [laughter] mr. springer: generally, the threshold for an act of war is
in the recipient's eyes. if canada launches a border incursion, and let's be honest, 90% of the canadian population lives near the border. they are poised to attack. [laughter] mr. springer: if a couple canadian hunters wander across the border and are trying to shoot a deer but shoot my cousin instead, that is not an act of war, it is an accident. the u.s. government is looking for an opportunity to pick a fight with canada, in which case they would make a big deal about it. when it comes to cyber incursion what secretary of defense robert , gates said, was the u.s. reserves the right to reciprocate for any kind of cyber attack. and we do not say we will restrict ourselves to the cyber domain. so we are saying if you do anything in cyber that we can possibly call an act of war, and we think it is to our advantage, we will call it an act of war. for me, an act of war either needs to cause casualties or
significant property damage, and it needs to be done by with that purpose. my annot be accidental, oh gosh, i'm trying to engage in espionage and accidentally shut down a power grid and some people died in car accidents. but i would not classify it that same way. it turns out, it depends on who we thought launched that attack, we might very well classify it as an act of war so we would have the opportunity for retaliation, if we thought it was in the national interest. the other thing is how do we find out who did this to you. if i pull out a gun and shoot rest of yourg, the would know that i did it because , i was right in front of them. but if i pull out a phone and shut down his system, for all you know, i was texting my wife.
in the cyber realm, this gray area of what is or is not an act of war is hard to decipher. and right now, we do not have an answer. but like every kind of conflict, it is the aggrieved nation that tends to make its own decision on whether to go to war or not. in 2007, when russia released cyber militias against estonia, they essentially shut down the system. estonia is the most wired country on earth. estonia is essentially a cashless society. every transaction is done electronically, and the russians shut down their whole internet for the whole country for three weeks over a tiny political issue. essentially, the estonians offended russia by trying to move a statue of a patriotic russian soldier. awaywanted to move it from the city center into the garden, and the russians got angry. was that an act of war to shut down the entire estonian economy? to shut down the estonian power grid?
to shut down the estonian banking industry? you could definitely call that an act of war. it was incredibly damaging. but if you are estonia, tiny estonia, population 3 million, do you really want to pick a fight with your russian neighbor, and what are you going to do in response? a cyber retaliation wouldn't work -- the russians are too good at ciber, and a new retaliation would come. so what did the estonians do? the apologize and put the statue back and waited for it to be over. was it an act of war? yes, probably. did nato define it as an active war? they probably thought so, but they said no. they didn't want to get involved. so i am not sure there is a defined threshold yet. >> my father experienced the effects of remote-controlled glider bombers in italy at
salerno, and he was a casualty. he had said that if the germans had continued with that offensive, they would've pushed us into the sea and changed the outcome of the war. why didn't we work on something, also, during the second world war? were we more content with using infantrymen? my father was in the infantry over there in salerno. , why didn't we work on that? but we worked on the atomic bomb? mr. springer: we pick and choose which technologies we want to pursue. one of the technologies that we were pursuing that cost almost as much as the atomic bomb was the b-29 that was going to deliver it. so a lot of our top scientists and engineers were going into projects like that. or going into the proximity fuse, a system that allowed artillery shells to explode when
it got near a target. effectiveomenally defense systems ,but we were terrified the enemy might get a hold of it. so we got a hold of some of their glide bombs and started to reverse engineer them, but the problem was these were jet engines. and the germans were so ahead of us in terms of jet engines that even if you try to reverse engineer and bring out your copies as fast as you can the , enemy had a significant head start. they had done all of the experiments for how do you actually control jet engines and how do you produce them effectively. we did take the capture technology and tried to produce our own copy of it. and at the end of the war, we captured as many german engineers and scientists as we our high put them into technology programs. so in alabama, for example, we built an enormous weapons programs built entirely around german rocket science.
-- scientists. that had fled west as fast as they could to the western allies to surrender rather to surrender to the soviets coming in. so we worked on it, but we were far enough behind that we did not prioritize it, because we were prioritizing other things we thought would win the war. sometimes we have to put up with the enemy having an advantage over us. that is the danger you face when you have a technologically advanced enemy. emp,ou mentioned the electromagnetic pulse, and hardening robots. i would love you to comment about how hardened we are at a micro level, in terms of individual predator drones and things like that, which is wonderful and protects us completely against isis and people like that trying to do something electronically, and on more of a macro-strategic level, on our increasing dependence
computer-driven offense and defense is, in fact, hardened against a more robust electronic enemy, say a russia or china? mr. springer: hardening is possible, but it is pretty expensive, which means we do not typically do it. especially if we are facing an enemy that does not really have the capacity to do anything about it. the islamic army does not have it or defenses, cyber capability, so we have not had to harden against that. when it comes to the predator the life expectancy if you want , to fly it against a peer competitor like russia or china you could measure in seconds. , shooting one is not difficult. it cruises at about 100 miles an hour. its radar cross-section is obvious. we are not trying to hide it. we use it with impunity right now because the enemy cannot do anything about it. hardening against
belichick might like -- hardening against electromagnetic energy is really in the space program, because space is a harsh environment and satellites in particular have had to be hardened against things. the sun emits all kinds of damaging radiation so we have had to learn how to protect these components long-term. so we know how to do it, more or less but it is expensive. , it weighs down whatever you are trying to harden. so if you want a loiter time of 24 hours with a predator, you really cannot harden it with electronics right now. one of the things we face and fear is when you remotely control something, that means , by definition, someone else could, in theory, take control. there was a case a few years ago when a sentinel was flying over the, and for some reason, it landed on an iranian highway. and the iranian said, we took over your aircraft. we are these great hackers -- no, they did not. they basically broadcast a gps signal at a stronger wattage than the one that normally
is broadcast from satellites. they overwhelmed its gps receiver and convinced it it was somewhere else. they basically said you are right over the land -- the airfield where you should land, and it landed. it is not taking over, but it was a clever way to bring it down. iranians proved to be incapable of reverse engineering the thing. but it does not mean the chinese and russians are incapable, should the iranians choose to sell components to them. so every time you build these remote-controlled items, you run the risk that others can control them. that is what pushes towards autonomy. after all if the machine runs , itself, it is not as susceptible to external control. unfortunately, that means your own external control. when it comes to things like emps, setting one off without a
nuclear detonation is not as easy. theoretically, it could be done. hollywood makes it seem simple. they make it seem like you can detonate it and just take out the electronics of an entire city. it is not like that. jamming it is more of a problem right now. final question, so make it a good one. defense systems have had popular support, because we, the good guys, are using them, them, the bad guys. it will not be pretty when the the tables are turned, which is not long enough. do you know if any diplomatic initiative or thoughts about making them banned, like wmds, chemical, nuclear? mr. springer: we have a number of treaties that cover things like biological weapons convention, when you say, there are horrible things you should not use in war. we all collectively said these are really bad.
there are regimes, for example the syrian regime was recently accused of using a chemical weapon. they almost certainly used sarin gas. there are people that will violate the rules. the nuclear weapons situation, in theory, there is a nuclear nonproliferation treaty in place which means in theory, no other nations are going to start and to develop nuclear weapons program. in practice, that is not true. there are non-signatories to it that have chosen to develop their own system, and there are signatories to it who have been chosen -- who have chosen to ignore the provisions. there is a social movement to ban autonomous weapons. there has not been a significant push in the international legal arena yet. so there are a lot of individual scholars and theorists saying, you know, we could probably save a lot of trouble if we ban those things before you use them. unfortunately, that does not seem to be the way humans work very well. the chemical weapons and, for example, came about after world
war i when we saw how horrible chemical weapons were and how undecisive they were. they did not win the war, they just made it worse for everybody involved. in some way, that is how i see autonomous weapons going. you are not going to win the war, unless you are facing an opponent you could have eaten -- you could have beaten without them. it will make the war worse. let's say we get in a war with a peer competitor who is also using robotics. let's just say our robots destroy theirs. you think they are going to surrender now? human history says, no, they will not. no, they will keep fighting. particularly if we're talking about a war of conquest rather than a limited fight. in that case, now your robots are going to have to deploy against their human troops, and they are probably going to be very effective at killing them. but humans will fight a lot longer than hindsight would indicate is a practical idea, particularly in wars of national survival.
and what i foresee, again because i am a pessimist, is that if you build enough of these machines you are going to feel almost a compulsion to use them before somebody else gets the advantage over you. and you're going to wind up using these things, and you may create one of the worst human atrocities in history without actually changing the nature of state interaction in the world today. so, on that happy note -- [laughter] [applause] alan: well on behalf of the new , york historical society and the foreign policy research institute, i want to thank paul springer for sharing with us remarks that offer clarity and judiciousness in approaching a very complex technical issue we face as a country and in the world. i thank all of you for joining us. there are a lot of things going on here at the society. come back often.
thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/hi story. you can see our schedule or watch a previous program. at c-span.org/history. the hard-fought 2016 primary season is over, with historic conventions to follow. >> colorado, florida, texas, ohio. >> watch c-span as delegates considered the first nomination
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